I left Togo on Monday and arrived in Ethiopia on Tuesday, and the saga continues. So far I am being carried by the strong currents of cultural transition - pulling me into the welcoming, peaceful, and cool streets and my family situation in Addis Ababa.
But, where is the civil war? I sure havent seen any. Back in the US, when I first hinted to my parents that Ethiopia was a stop on my itinerary, they scoffed. Civil war, they said, we just don't know if its safe. I was put off but still interested because, after all, I don't always do as my parents say. That behavior, while normally a bad move, paid off big this time. After taking my parents opinion I went back at University. There, I went to talk this Ethiopia situation over with my advisor Rick Troxel. He told me that Ethiopia was experiencing a renaissance - the site of an influx of forigen-educated Ethiopians who were in the process of building Addis Ababa into a world-class city. Don't worry about the civil war, he said, that was long over with. These wise, insightful words convinced me to give Ethiopia a try...not in the least because I love their coffee. So, where is the civil war? The people of Addis Ababa show no signs of hostility, no signs of trauma from this "war". Actually, the atmosphere in Addis Ababa is the most peaceful of any large city that I have ever visitied. Coffee shops and restaurants bustle, families and couples walk slowly through the streets, and the soft tones of the Ahmaric language caress the ears throughout. Well, where is the civil war? I feel it is long gone, never to return. Truly, I see Ethiopia moving forward with solidarity, with an exciting present and bright future. Then, where is the civil war? Not here, and I certinaly wont be asking myself this at when I start rehabilitating young women on Monday!
Togo, I love you, but I must be moving on. Don't worry, I will be back soon. For now, Ethiopians, I am along for the ride - come and know me better!
Debre Libanos is a monastery in Ethiopia, lying northwest of Addis Abeba in the Oromia Region. Founded in the thirteenth century by Saint Tekle Haymanot, the monastery’s chief abbot, called the Ichege, was the second most powerful official in the Ethiopian Church after the Abuna.
The monastery complex sits on a terrace between a cliff and the gorgle of one of the tributaries of the Abbay River (the Blue Nile). None of the original buildings of Debre Libanos survive. Current buildings include the church over Tekle Haymanot’s tomb, which Emperor Haile Selassie ordered constructed in 1961; a slightly older Church of the Cross, where Buxton was told a fragment of the True Crosss is preserved; and five religious schools.
Along the side of the church, you cross a river and proceed on foot up a hill for about 15 minutes. According to legend, the Ethiopian Saint, Tekle Haimanot, prayed for 7 years (or 29 years, depending who you ask). The legend says that he stood on one foot for so long that the other foot fell off. Sick people queue to receive holy water (which is believed to be a sign of the saint’s prayer).
There is controversy about the origins of the so-called Portuguese Bridge. According to some, it was built in the 16th century by Portuguese; others say that it was built by Ras Darge (who was Menelik’s uncle) in the 19th century. After crossing the bridge, go to your left by the side of the river until you reach on a large rock suitable to view the 600m waterfall. The best time to see this is in the Ethiopian rainy season (July-September).
You should see Galada Baboons, which are endemic in Ethiopia.